Suzuki Jimny, Jag EV, A-Class & more confirmed as World COTY finalists
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Every publication and their dog hosts a Car of the Year gong these days, but arguably the biggest annual prize in motoring-dom (apart from the AA Driven New Zealand Car of the Year grand prize, of course) is World Car of the Year.
The first WCOTY was held in 2005, where the Audi A6 won top honours. In the years since the outright prize has gone to an eclectic mix of cars; from the Mazda2 and Nissan Leaf to the Jaguar F-Pace and, last year, the Volvo XC60.
And now the organisation have released their shortlist of grand prize finalists for 2019; the Audi e-tron, BMW 3 Series, Ford Focus, Genesis G70, Hyundai Nexo, Jaguar I-Pace, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Suzuki Jimny, Volvo S60 (and its estate stablemate, the V60), and the Volvo XC40.
The list is a curious one for several reasons. Along with including two electric cars (the I-Pace and e-tron), it also includes the hydrogen-powered Nexo compact SUV (a model yet to be confirmed for the Kiwi market). Our 2018 AACOTY choice, the A-Class, also makes it in, as does fellow Kiwi finalist the XC40.
The most interesting choice though is the Jimny. It's a micro-SUV that has many a enthusiast frothing (and for those people, newsflash, the first examples have landed in New Zealand), but it's hard to ignore the adorable Japanese off-roader's recent poor run of safety tests.
First, it scored a measly three stars in Euro NCAP tests. And then just last month, it repeated that score in its ANCAP tests. We suspect, based on the continual demand for Jimnys in Europe, that the poor ANCAP score won't make a massive dent in the sales ability of the diminutive little SUV. But nonetheless it seems an off-centre choice for World Car of the Year selection — especially when former nominees and winners from the likes of Volvo have been chosen (in part) for their advanced safety capabilities.
The aforementioned names aren't the only cars nominated for awards. In the early days WCOTY had just the one single ultimate prize, but nowadays there's awards for design, tree-hugging abilities, performance, and more. You can view the full list of nominees below:
Design of the Year finalists
Citroen C5 Aircross
Jaguar E Pace
Jaguar I Pace
Luxury Car finalists
BMW 8 Series
Performance Car finalists
Aston Martin Vantage
BMW M2 Competition
Hyundai Veloster N
Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door coupe
Urban Car finalists
Green Car finalists
Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid
Kia Niro EV